'Jordanian women' recognised in Kingdom's constitution after parliamentary brawl

‘Jordanian women’ recognised in Kingdom’s constitution after parliamentary brawl

Jordan parliament

It may just be the video footage required to show why parliaments need more women.

Now a week since it was shared across the world, things have changed for Jordanian women.

After male politicians traded the punches over the issue, women have now achieved a symbolic amendment in the kingdom’s constitution, with 94 of 130 lawmakers in the lower house voting to change Jordan’s constitution to “the rights and duties of Jordanian men and women” rather than just “of Jordanians”.

The change has been described as “linguistic equality” in the Arabic world, as to merely say “of Jordanians” sees the language default to males only.

Twenty six parliamentarians rejected the amendment, while ten were absent from the vote.

Less than 12% of parliamentarians in Jordan are female, according to the Interparliamentary Union.

One of that 12% is Minister for State and Legal Affair Wafa Bani Mustafa who has fought tirelessly for women’s safety and rights at work.

The constitutional change that passed was made to “honour and respect women”, according to Minister of Political and Parliamentary Affairs Musa Maaytah.

The full-on brawl erupted in Parliament following a heated discussion on the constitutional amendment between two conservatives.

The video shows the lawmaker physically brawling, including pushing and shoving, with a number of punches thrown. It happened after insults and blasphemous remarks were heard according to one source who witnessed the event.

While women have equal rights to men in terms of education, political participation, employment and healthcare, the constitution previously addressed them separately when it came to citizenship — which means women are unable to pass on their nationality to children and spouses.

Some conservative parliamentarians have been opposing the changes as “against morality and motherhood”.

Meanwhile, Parliamentary Legal Committee member Ghazi Al Thneibat described the change as “aesthetics designed to appease the international community.” He’s been criticized extensively for the comment.

The Jordanian Government has previously promised to close gender equality gaps by 2030.

No one was injured in the parliamentary brawl.

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